KUSA - 9NEWS has heard from several viewers worried about a cat that appeared to be stuck on a utility pole in Greeley.
Sadly, this seems to happen fairly frequently every year. Once an animal is up there for a day or more, residents in the area come to 9NEWS concerned and wondering what can be done to help the stranded cat. 9NEWS wants to help, and wants you to know what you should do if you see a stuck cat in your neighborhood.
The good news is nearly every one of these stories has a happy ending. And most of the time, the cat ends up coming down on its own.
Dr. Aubrey Lavisso, a veterinarian with the Center for Animal Wellness, says typically cats will climb a pole or a tree when they feel threatened or are chased. They can be easily frightened, and their claws are designed to help them climb.
Once they're on a pole or in a tree, he says it's important to be patient when trying to get them back down.
"If a cat is up there, it was probably scared to begin with and will need to be calmed before trying to coax it down," Dr. Lavisso said.
Most importantly, don't become another victim. There are often live wires and other dangers that can easily injure those who are not trained to climb utility poles.
Make sure there are no predators in the area, use a calm voice and try to lure it down with food. He emphasized trying to limit any stresses in the area.
Dr. Lavisso says "in most cases, cats will typically come down when they are calmer, and when they no longer sense what scared them up the pole in the first place."
And if you are worried because the cat is stuck especially high up, that can actually be a good thing.
"In a fall from a tall building or pole, a cat can have time to spread itself out and in a way parachute to the ground and right itself before landing. When a pole is only 10 to 20 feet off the ground, a cat may not have time to do that and could be more seriously injured if it were to fall from 15 to 20 feet instead of a much greater height," Dr. Lavisso explained.
If it still doesn't seem like the cat is coming down, you can try to get local authorities involved to help rescue the animal.
Denver Fire said the first and best option is to call the city and county's 311 line, and they will get you in contact with the best agency and resources to help.
You can also call the non-emergency line for the fire department in any municipality (in Denver the non-emergency number is 720-913-2400).
Denver Fire says those answering the call will then try to determine the severity of the situation and whether or not they can take any action. Factors like whether it's a high-tension line or just a basic light pole can determine if they fire department will respond.
As a last resort, you can call the utility company the pole the cat is on belongs to.
Gabriel Romero, the local spokesman with Xcel Energy said people should not call the company first because, in most instances, they are not able to respond due to safety issues for their crews, and the unpredictable behavior of the animal that is stuck. He did say that is certain cases exceptions are made depending how long the animal has been up there and whether there is an available crew already in the area.
As for the cat in Greeley? An Xcel Energy crew did stop by and climb the pole to attempt a rescue. In the end, Smokey got scared jumped, and landed safely. He's now home with his family.
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